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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore
Outside the Ivory Tower
A beautiful Mind
The Long March
The New Scientists
Critical Care

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Winter 2002
Outside the Ivory Tower
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"I was here last year because my grades were kind of dropping," says Saatra Bishop, a seventh-grader at Foschay Learning Center who aspires to become a pediatrician. "Now my grades are going up. They're mostly A's and B's."

Pens and pencils in hand, the students lean over math homework, spelling tests, history, science and social studies books. Their UCLA tutors alternately cruise the room and sit beside them, offering hands-on help.

The counseling is just as valuable as tutoring, if not more, says Watson.

Says Armstrong, "Whatever you need to talk about — problems at school or home — you can be open. It makes me feel good. It lets out some of the stress and I can think."

It helps that the SHAPE staff can relate on a personal level. "I grew up in this neighborhood," says UCLA senior Brandi Holley, who coordinates the program at the HSEC site. "I know what it's like to hear gunshots at night, the police helicopters. There are so many things they're dealing with."

"The main thing is to help the students set their own goals," says Watson. "It's about taking baby steps. They might say, 'Well, I want to take my C's and get a couple of B's.' Or, 'I want to play basketball and need to keep a B average to do that.' It's the little things that will affect the way they feel about school."

For students like eighth-grader Donté Archie, those baby steps are paying off. "Being here helps," he says. "I learn quicker. They listen to us. Then they give us a break to talk and play."

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